Carole James

Leader of the British Columbia Official Opposition and New Democratic Party of British Columbia

Carole James is the leader of the British Columbia Official Opposition and the leader of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia. James is the member of the legislature assembly (MLA) for the riding of Victoria—Beacon Hill in British Columbia, Canada.

The New Democratic Party failed to unseat the ruling Liberal Party in the federal election held on May 12, 2009. Though the party failed in both the 2009 and 2005 elections, James has affirmed that she will remain as leader. The NDP won 36 seats (and 42 percent of the vote), three more than in the 2005 election. James attributes the NDP’s criticism of the government’s record rather than offering an alternative for change to its electoral defeat.

James is committed to holding the Liberal government accountable for its election promises and providing positive alternatives. Key issues of concern include helping British Columbians manage their way through the economic recession, protecting the environment and improving vital public services.

James has a reputation for being tough as well as compassionate. She was elected leader of the New Democratic Party of BC on November 23, 2003. In the 2001 provincial election, the NDP won two seats. During that election, James was unsuccessful in her bid for the riding of Victoria—Beacon Hill.

After her unsuccessful election bid in 2001, James moved to Prince George, BC to serve as the Director of Child and Family Services for Carrier Sekani Family Services. As part of her management responsibilities, she coordinated planning for the regionalization of child and family services that were transferred from the Ministry of Children and Families to an Aboriginal authority. In July 2003, she became Coordinator with the Northern Aboriginal Authority for Families. Only a few months later, she re-entered politics.

James was born in Dukenfield, England on December 22, 1957, but was raised in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, and in Victoria, British Columbia. James has a long record of service with the BC School Trustees Association, serving as President for five terms, beginning in 1995. She was a member of the Greater Victoria School Board from 1990-2001, and was also involved at the national level, serving as the Vice-President of the Canadian School Boards Association.

James, who is part Métis, has two children: Alison and Evan. She has also been a foster parent for more than two decades, giving care to children and adults with special needs. On May 22, 2004, she married Albert Gerow, an artist and former Burns Lake, BC municipal councillor and RCMP officer. On July 13, 2006, James announced publicly that she had been diagnosed with localized uterine endometrial cancer, for which she was treated successfully.

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